One of the toughest things about being a writer in this day and age is thinking about your personal brand. Am I a writer, a blogger, a journalist, an artist? All these self-declarations allow people to better understand who I am, but it also makes me feel boxed in.
Sure, sometimes I write blog posts, and so I am a blogger. But, it’s not something I live and breathe. I am a person first, like any other writer. This means, I’ve got a wide range of interests and passions. It also means, that my opinions can change. I know that it may shock people that someone who *seems* smart has not made his mind up about everything in a definitive manner. There are those fundamental bedrock beliefs that any other good liberal in North America shares, but I don’t know that that’s who I am or merely a matter of my birthplace, though they burn inside me all the same. That’s why I shy away from talking of those things and also I know I will never be convinced otherwise. They are important to me, but I’m not sure why yet. And I don’t want to set things in stone unnecessarily.
But, for example, I discuss things on this blog that are ‘political’ and that can lead people to think I’m writing a political blog. And that’s not something I’ll ever do. For one, politics are too loud and crazy at the moment for a calm, annoying voice like my own. And I also do not care enough. I wish I did, but it’s like seeing your face in the mirror when you’re yelling, it just exhausts you even more and kind of makes it all go away. One clip of Alex Jones can be all a person needs to only think about politics when they get that register information in the mail during election cycle.
But really it’s a matter of being myself and so when something happens that makes me angry, I talk about it. Whatever that topic may be, whatever it may say about my brand.
One thing that scares about becoming a professional writer is that you lose control of your brand. When you get successful you also get people who come along with the success. I remember a part of Stephen King’s On Writing where he talks about how anytime he’d turn in an atypical manuscript, like the book he was writing, his agent and publisher would give him an atta-boy. But after, they’d ask when he’d be turning in a horror piece cut of the King cloth. That seems like a bad way to go about creativity.
Perhaps, that’s the issue when writing becames a more than two-person exercise. Those two people being the reader and the writer. They exist together, when writing is done well.
Branding, and all the rest, do not co-exist with these two. That’s the issue.